Today marks the start of the new Masonic year 6024…

and today is the 1st day of the 1st month of the year 6024.

I therefore wish you a Very Happy New Year and all my best Masonic wishes.

For the youngsters, here’s a little explanation of how the dates are set:

Traditionally, Masons use the Masonic era in their acts and correspondence. This varies from rite to rite and from Obedience to Obedience.

Generally speaking, Anglo-Saxon, French and German lodges use the Year of True Light (A:.V:.L:.) or Anno Lucis (A:.L:.) to symbolically trace the origins of Masonry back to the creation of the world according to biblical tradition. It is generally accepted that this chronology was borrowed by English Masons from the work of a scholar, the Anglican prelate James Usher, born in Dublin in 1580, which contained a biblical chronology dating back to 4004 B.C., a date also retained in Anderson’s Constitutions.

To obtain the Year of True Light (A:.V:.L:.) or Anno Lucis (A:.L:.), we need to add 4000 years to the year of the Vulgar Era (E:. V:.), which begins on March 1st of the current year.

March corresponds to Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, and February to Pisces, the last sign. We don’t use the names of the months or days, only their dates. Thus, February 1, 2024 was the first day of the twelfth month of A:.V:.L:. 6023 and March 1, 2024, is the first day of the first month of A:.V:.L:. or A:.L:. 6024.

Other chronologies can also be used, such as the Hebrew chronology used, in the wake of the Grand Lodge of the “Antients” in the first documents of the R.E.A.A. – cf. the dating of the Grand Constitutions of Lausanne of 1875 – as well as in certain Scottish grades.

This chronology is called Anno Hébraïco (A:.H:.) or Anno Mundi (A:.M:.), terms used erroneously in Anderson’s Constitutions, and fixes the beginning of the world at 3760 BC.

For the Templars, the years are counted from the date of creation of the Order of the Temple in 1118, and the year is called the Anno Ordinis (A:.O:.) or, more generally, from March 1, 1314, which recalls the death of Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master, burned in March 1314. The Order’s year is then calculated by reducing the Gregorian calendar year by 1313 and subtracting two months. March 1, 2024 was therefore the first day of the first month of the year 711 or 906 Anno Ordinis.

For the rank of Royal Arch, the starting date of the calendar is that of the rebuilding of the Second Temple by Zorobabel, set at 530 B.C. and called Anno Inventionis (A:.I:.). For the Royal and Select Master grades of the York Rite, the starting date is the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, set in 1000 BC and called Anno Depositionis (A:.D:.).

There is also a calendar specific to the Egyptian Rite which, if I’m not mistaken, starts its chronology at 1292 B.C., the date of RAMSES II’s accession to the Egyptian throne. But I won’t go into that now, as you’re in a much better position to talk about it than I am.

The Vulgar Era

The Romans began the year on March 1st. This explains the names of September, the 7th month of the year, October, the 8th month, and November and December, the 9th and 10th months respectively.

Under the French monarchy, the Catholic year began either at Christmas or Easter, with eleven or thirteen months, depending on the bend in the moon. It wasn’t until 1564, however, that Charles IX issued an edict invariably starting the year on January 1st. This edict was followed in France until 1792, when the republic succeeded the monarchy and completely changed the order and name of the calendar. The year began on September 22.

In 1806, the republican calendar was reformed, and France adopted the Empire calendar, which began on December 2…

I won’t go back over the twists and turns, errors, corrections and, ultimately, the uncertainties …

Fabien Roget PDDGM

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